Dunne: po­lit­i­cal cen­tre nec­es­sary

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - Sylvia Jenkin Aotea Pono Imi Lin­den Rob Eng­land Whitby Ca­role Nay­lor Pa­pakowhai GOR­DON CAMP­BELL TALK­ING POL­I­TICS

DREDG­ING WON’T WORK

Ja­son Ry­der (Let­ters, July 5) has been sug­gest­ing dredg­ing to cure the silt prob­lem in Porirua Har­bour. At least he has now re­alised the silt comes from the hun­dreds of creeks that pour straight into both arms of our har­bour. Grace Tay­lor, in the next let­ter, had the an­swer (for why the silt was there). It’s ero­sion - the soil erodes into ev­ery stream ev­ery time there’s heavy rain.

Rush­ing down steep hill­sides, the soil gets swept bit by bit all the way down­stream till it reaches the har­bour. This starts right up the top of ev­ery hill around us, be­cause, as she says, the hills and forests "should have been left as bush to catch the sed­i­ment". Right!

It’s far be­yond what any dredge could do. The forests were milled more than 100 years ago. Most of our hill­top land has no bush left, it’s all ei­ther pas­ture or houses, roads and lots of con­crete. There is even a big plan by the coun­cils to try to rid the har­bour of tox­ins, but noth­ing to re­duce ero­sion.

On top of that, for the next five years there’s a four-lane high­way be­ing con­structed up be­hind Can­nons Creek. The huge earth­works have started and the big­gest bridge in Trans­mis­sion Gully is go­ing in about 60 me­tres over the gorge.

The bull­doz­ers are goug­ing the steep, al­ready frag­ile land from Lin­den be­hind Ranui to Can­nons Creek and Duck Creek to make this road. Ex­pect lots more sed­i­ment in both arms of our har­bour, folks.

MORE HOMES GOOD, BUT AT WHAT COST?

Fan­tas­tic news for Porirua - 500 new homes, which will prob­a­bly be un­af­ford­able for many lo­cals, and an in­ter­est­ing part­ner­ship with Ngati Toa and Car­rus, with the coun­cil prob­a­bly ben­e­fit­ing too.

But from read­ing the front page of the Kapi-Mana News last week and do­ing my own bit of re­search, there is lots to be lost with this ven­ture.

There are many or­gan­i­sa­tions up there, which pro­vide sup­port to the vul­ner­a­ble and dis­en­fran­chised, but will be moved on with no op­tions for re­lo­cat­ing.

This oa­sis, full of fan­tas­tic flora and fauna, will also suf­fer, with the same treat­ment as the land that is now the Aotea block – Bull­doz­ers rolling in, trees cut down and the land a bare blot on the land­scape that is char­ac­ter­less and de­void of nat­u­ral taonga.

So a ques­tion to Ngati Toa: As kaiti­aki of this land, are you act­ing in the best in­ter­est of the peo­ple and en­vi­ron­ment or is it re­ally all about the dol­lar?

He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tan­gata! He tan­gata! He tan­gata! - What is the most im­por­tant thing in the world? It is peo­ple, it is peo­ple, it is peo­ple.

POOR DE­CI­SION

Has some­body at Porirua City Coun­cil got it in for Aotea?

First we had the ridicu­lous block­ing of The Fjord, which was re­cently re­versed to what it should have been, at ad­di­tional ex­pense, and now we have a cy­cle­way that no­body wants.

SENSE PRE­VAILS

Well done to Porirua City Coun­cil on a more mean­ing­ful re­duc­tion on the pre-an­nounced rates than has been the case in the past.

How­ever I am­won­der­ing if the coun­cil plans to con­sult Porirua cit­i­zens on the plans for the new Chil­dren’s Wet Play area to be de­vel­oped at Aotea La­goon along with a new sound shell.

If the wet play area is to be part of the cur­rent chil­dren’s play park, I am­sure they will not ob­ject.

How­ever what chance is there of it be­ing the re­turn of the dreaded board wake park, still on the coun­cil web­site, while there are only pass­ing ref­er­ences to the wet play area and no plans.

Around the world, mil­lions of vot­ers are feel­ing an­gry and left be­hind – thanks to changes in the work­place and the im­pact of new tech­nol­ogy, im­mi­gra­tion and chang­ing moral at­ti­tudes.

It is easy to see why peo­ple might con­clude that this is a bad time to be Peter Dunne, and the leader of a cen­trist party such as United Fu­ture. Does he feel that way? True, Dunne replies, this is a crunch time for lib­eral politi­cians and par­ties.

The likes of Brexit sug­gest to him that the style of gov­ern­ment pur­sued in the past 30 years has es­sen­tially failed.

‘‘Yet given the nas­ti­ness that’s start­ing to ap­pear around im­mi­gra­tion and around mi­nori­ties, there is also a place for re-as­sert­ing the tem­po­rar­ily un­pop­u­lar val­ues, about prin­ci­ple and in­tegrity.’’

Re­ally? But isn’t even for­mer Bri­tish PMTony Blair say­ing that the po­lit­i­cal cen­tre has lost its power to per­suade?

‘‘I think that’s true. That’s part of the chal­lenge. The po­lit­i­cal cen­tre - which has tended to be the mod­er­a­tor and the bal­ancer - is tem­po­rar­ily per­ceived as be­ing the prob­lem.

‘‘We’re in an en­vi­ron­ment where there is an ‘up you’ mentality [to gov­ern­ment] and peo­ple want a sim­ple so­lu­tion – in or out.’’

Real life so­lu­tions, he adds, aren’t so sim­ple.

For now, Dunne agrees that United Fu­ture is lo­cated some­where between the right wing ex­trem­ists, who blame every­thing on the im­mi­grants, and the left wing ex­trem­ists, who blame every­thing on the bankers. Both ex­tremes are hos­tile to glob­al­i­sa­tion.

In Dunne’s view, his nat­u­ral con­stituency isn’t the ag­grieved, but the peo­ple who op­pose the po­lar­is­ing at­ti­tudes and ac­tions of the ag­grieved. Fine. But which group is big­ger?

‘‘I don’t know the an­swer,’’ Dunne replies.

‘‘You can say the ag­grieved are in the as­cen­dancy at the mo­ment, so there­fore all is doom and gloom. But be­cause of the po­lar­i­sa­tion this cre­ates, other voices now need to re-as­sert them­selves.’’

Maybe. Yet in this coun­try, New Zealand First is seen as hav­ing a vir­tual lock on the protest vote. So what can Dunne of­fer to those vot­ers that Win­ston Peters can’t?

‘‘I don’t think I can nec­es­sar­ily of­fer much to those vot­ers, be­cause we start from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.

‘‘The group of peo­ple I’m of­fer­ing sub­stance to are the group who feel that we need to pull back from the abyss at the

‘‘If we give in to the ag­grieved we'll have a pretty nasty so­ci­ety.’’

mo­ment, and that this ‘to hell in a hand­cart’ mentality has got to be stopped.’’

Ul­ti­mately, he’s not en­gag­ing with Peters’ sup­port­ers at all.

‘‘That group is es­sen­tially say­ing that every­thing that has hap­pened in the past 30 years has left me be­hind.’’

Brexit in Britain and the rise of Don­ald Trump strike him as part of the same process. ’’Yet if we give in to the ag­grieved we’ll have a pretty nasty so­ci­ety in terms of its at­ti­tudes to var­i­ous mi­nori­ties,’’ he says.

‘‘If you give in to the ag­grieved you won’t make any form of progress, and we will be­come a very nar­row, very in­su­lar kind of place. ‘‘

Since Brexit, he’s heard, the cen­trist Bri­tish Lib­er­alDemocrats have signed up 15,000 new mem­bers - cause for op­ti­mism.

The po­lit­i­cal cen­tre still strikes Dunne as nec­es­sary, now and in the longer term.

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